Life off Interstate 84 - Idaho

The BondyWeb in Mountain Home

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Newsflash

(19 April 2014)  My name is Tim Bondy and the owner of this website.  As of Jan 1st, 2014 we moved to a different domain.  Please head over to the Bondy Blogs Website at http://bondyblogs.com  Different address, different system but same type of great articles, photos, stories and information. 

 
You are here: Mtn Home Outdoor Local Outdoor News

Idaho Outdoor News

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Castle Rocks Hike off Highway 20

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Bondy hikes in the Castle Rock area of Idaho

On Sunday January 8th, 2012 I took a hike in a place I've been meaning to hit for the last few years. The lack of snow, cool temperatures and blue skies came together in a grand fashion for this “Castle Rocks Hike”. Located only about 30 miles northwest of Mountain Home off Highway 20 made for quick easy access to this scenic hike.

The Castle Rocks Hike
With my dog in tow, we parked at a borrow pit off NFS Road 152 or what is more commonly called Castle Rock Road. We headed east-northeast on this snow cover road for about 1 hour.

This is wide open country with an abundance of sagebrush and only scattered tree cover mainly along creek valleys. As the name of the road suggests, the many rock formations are the big draw in this area. It did not take long before we were walking past the first big boulder cluster. As we got further into the hike, rock formations became more frequent and infinitely more interesting.

From Castle Rock Hike Jan 2012


Castle Rock Road slowly gains in overall elevation the further east you hike. But in reality, the road meanders up and down the many shallow draws in this rolling terrain. The land along this hike is a mixture of US Forest Service land and private property although the roadbed is a public thoroughfare. The coolest rock formations on this hike appear to be on private property.

This isn't a remote hike by any stretch of the imagination. Highway 20 is never more than 2 miles away and vehicle traffic/noise can be seen and heard at times. But don't let this fact discourage you from getting out there and enjoying this cool area.

Dog goes bouldering in Idaho

If I was younger and more adventurous, I would have been tempted to try some bouldering on these rock formations. In my younger days I did a fair amount of bouldering (without the crash pads) in Southern California. On this day I left the dangerous stuff to my dog Addie. She is a natural on boulders and fearless too.


View Larger Map

The Hiking Stats
Total Hike Mileage: 3.18 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 520 feet
Average Slope: 5.8%
Driving Time from Mountain Home, Idaho: 27 miles or about 35 minutes
Drive Distance on Dirt Roads: 3/5 of a mile
Link to more pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/tim.bondy/CastleRockHikeJan2012?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Hope you enjoyed the story of my Castle Rock Hike. Check back soon for a video from this area.


tim-bondy-idaho-blogger


Last Updated on Monday, 09 January 2012 10:30

Wolf Depredation Rumors Near Mountain Home Idaho

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Wolves near Hot Spring Road outside of Mountain Home Idaho

I took my dog for a walk on Hot Springs Road just outside of Mountain Home, Idaho on January 5th, 2012. We parked west-southwest of Teapot Dome and began walking southeast on Hot Springs Road. While this road was recently graded, the edges were quite soft and muddy. I clearly saw the track of what I thought was an extremely large dog and cattle prints.

Wolf tracks with set of keys for scale
My car keys are there for a comparison of how big the wolf prints really are.

Hunting the Wolves of Idaho's Teapot Dome
After walking about 4/5th of a mile, a quad driven by two gentleman stopped to inform me 3 wolves had been spotted chasing cows along the road and on the evening of January 4th, one cow had been killed by these wolves over in what I suspect is Teapot Basin. Those 2 guys had wolf tags and were ready to bag a couple.

Teapot Dome cows the wolves were hunting

Dogs and Wolves Playing Together?
I was told I should be careful as wolves have been known to harass or even kill dogs out in the wilds of Idaho. So for the rest of the walk on Hot Springs Road, I kept an eye out for movement in the grass and what little sagebrush there is in this area. I never saw the wolves on this walk. I wonder if they saw me and Addie?

From Wolf Track near Mountain Home Idaho amd Teapot Dome area.


Oregon Trail and Bennett Mountain Wolves?
I seem to remember there was and apparently still is a Bennett Mountain wolf pack. Guess badgers aren't the only think I have to think about when I take my crazy and foolish dog out for a walk. I also wonder how the old pioneers coming out west dealt with wolves. Considering this area is smack dab in the middle of the old Oregon Trail, I'm sure they had some unpleasant experiences with wolves.

Wolf Hunt 2011-2012
As of January 5th, 2012 the most current stats for the Idaho Wolf Hunt showed hunters have taken 197 177 wolves during this season that ends March 31, 2012. Read more about this subject on the Idaho Fish and Game website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/wolves/

See a few more pictures of the wolf tracks at:
https://picasaweb.google.com/tim.bondy/WolfTrackNearMountainHomeIdahoAmdTeapotDomeArea?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Got More Information?
Do you have more information about the wolves around Teapot Dome and Mountain Home, Idaho? Leave a comment or e-mail me. I'd like to hear more about this rumored incident.

Thanks,


tim-signature


Last Updated on Friday, 06 January 2012 09:41

Corker Creek Area Hike

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I took a 4 mile walk on the upper portion of Bennett Mountain Road on December 29th, 2011. It seemed more like March 29th as the weather was rather warm and at times downright sunny and nice. It was nice to get out into the higher elevations this late in the year but it would be better if our mountains were buried in snow instead of almost bare and muddy. I named this hike after the impressive Corker Creek canyon visible along part of the walk.

Corker Creek area hike by Tim Bondy

The Hike
Parking at the 5,325 foot level (43.184111, -115.324555) my dog Addie and I headed uphill on Bennett Mountain Road. Starting off, this gravel road was rather soft and wet after the recent rains. I tried a few off road attempts to get a look into Little Canyon Creek. But mud just caked my boots so I never made it more than a half dozen steps off the road before turning back.

Addie the dog in Little Canyon Creek near Bennett Mountain Idaho

I tried a dirt road down to the creek and found it passable for the most part but there were spots where I sunk deeply into the mud and muck. But at least I got a close-up view of Little Canyon Creek and Addie got a drink.

The higher we hiked on Bennett Mountain Road, the more spectacular the views became. To the north and west was the hoodoo filled Corker Creek canyon. The view up Burns Gulch gave me hopes of hiking that valley when conditions are a little better. And the butte like structure on the south end of Peak 6350 was fascinating to say the least.

Corker Creek Hoodoo's in Idaho

At around the 5,660 foot mark, ice started to become the main walking surface on Bennett Mountain Road. And by the 5,690 mark the road was completely ice covered and walking became a lot more difficult for me. However, Addie seemed to enjoy the situation and did a lot of ice skating just for the fun of it. I've never seen a dog run and slide on ice just for fun but that's what this crazy dog did.

From BondyWeb Idaho Photo


We turned around after about 1 hour of walking at the 5,790 foot mark (43.205278, -115.341059) just after a truck passed by on their way down the hill. I know this couple was white knuckling it down the sheet of ice and was glad I was the walking. Amazing enough during almost the entire hike we had a grand view of the Snake River Plains and mountains of Nevada.

Why I Liked This Hike
The Corker Creek area Hike on Bennett Mountain Road was an eye opening experience. I've never been this far up the road and I see many future hiking opportunities in this area. I'll just have to wait until it dries out or becomes snow covered.

The scenery on this portion of the Bennett Mountain area is wonderful. I'd really like to head up the Corker Creek drainage but I'm pretty sure the entire Corker area is private property. But Burns Gulch looks to be BLM land for the most part. I'll likely head back up to this area again real soon.

Map of Hike - Blue line is actual GPS Track

View Larger Map

Hiking Stats
Total Mileage of Hike: 4.0 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: about 600 feet
Highest Elevation: 5,974 feet
Average Slope Along Hike: 5.1%
Miles from Mountain Home: 48 miles

You can contact me about this hike using my Contact Us form or leave a comment below.

Thanks,


tim-signature



Last Updated on Friday, 30 December 2011 17:49

Best Hike in 2011 - South Fork of Soldier Creek

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Tree changing colors along the South Fork of Soldier Creek hike in Idaho

2011 was supposed to be my year of widespread Idaho exploration. That all changed when I got laid off from my job. At the beginning, I was a little depressed that money worries would prevent me from enjoying Idaho. I soon found out that exploring locations close to home and “doing it on the cheap” by driving less than 75 miles was just as enjoyable as traveling to far away places.

An Earlier Fork in the Road
Eleven days earlier I was exploring a trail close to Soldier Mountain Ski Area near Fairfield, Idaho. At that time I had a choice of 2 different trails to hike. On that day I chose the non-motorized trail along the North Fork of Soldier Creek. This was quite a wonderful place and I would now place it second on my list best places I visited in 2011. You can read about this trip at:
Insert link here: Early Fall Hike Near Fairfield Idaho


Smoky Dome in Sawtooth National Forest is about 3 miles away

South Fork of Soldier Creek. The Best Hike of 2011.
(October 14th, 2011) My destination was a ridgeline close to the 10,095 foot mountain called Smoky Dome in the Sawtooth National Forest. I knew I wouldn't make it to the planned ridge but I did not want to limit my options as I always leave a detailed map package of my planned route with my wife in case something bad happens. And to honest, I did not think the South Fork of Soldier Creek hike could come close to besting the North Fork hike I took earlier in the month. But I was wrong.


View Larger Map

The Hike
Parking at the trailhead (43.498521, -114.834811), I set off with my crazy dog Addie and headed west up National Forest Trail 087. The views in the low levels were nice and with the South Fork creek still flowing pretty good, the dog was free to cool off and drink as much water as she could handle.

Addie my plott hound dog was on this South Fork Soldier Creek hike

For the fishermen out there, I was surprised at the amount of small trout living in the numerous pools. Almost every place we stopped to explore the creekbed, I saw trout. But for the rockhounds, there isn't much to see out here. I suspect once you get up near Smoky Dome, there are better prospects.

The further west you head up NFS Trail 087 the better the scenery becomes. Due to the lateness of the season, the trees were changing with a lot of brilliant yellows the primary change color. In places I occasionally caught glimpses of the snow covered Smoky Dome area. This section of mountains is quite dramatic, beautiful and what keep me moving forward and upward.

From South Fork of Soldier Creek


Just as the trail started heading up a steeper ridge, I decided to call it quits. I headed southwest off trail (43.507225, -114.889798) towards the source of the South Fork of Soldier Creek. We found a meadow and a nice big rounded boulder to eat lunch on with a fabulous Smoky Dome view. You'll not find a better place to nosh on a stale old peanut butter sandwich in my opinion.

I took a lot of pictures and we headed back down:
https://picasaweb.google.com/tim.bondy/SouthForkOfSoldierCreek?authuser=0&feat=directlink

It was time to head on back but we decided to try out a side trail that paralleled NFS 087 in this area that I found on my GPS unit. It certainly was a different environment, with a much marshier look and feel. It felt more like hiking in the Washington Coastal Range for a short amount of time. A shallow South Fork of Soldier Creek crossing got us back out on the main trail and the 3 mile hike back to the car.
From South Fork of Soldier Creek


What I Loved About the South Fork of Soldier Creek Hike
The scenery was probably the best I've seen on any hike this season. I wish I was in better shape and could “dayhike” up to the ridges around Smoky Dome. But what I saw was enough to classify this hike as the epic 2011 Bondyweb Hike of the year. As far as the things I did not like? Having to leave that meadow where we had lunch is the worst thing I can say.

Stats of the Hike:
  • Total Hiking Mileage: 7.0 miles on this out and back hike
  • Average Slope: 8.2%
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,667 feet
  • Highest Point of Hike: 7,402 feet
  • Stream Crossings: 1 on-trail and 3 or 4 off trail.
  • Mileage from Mountain Home to Trailhead: 71.2 miles with 1.2 miles on gravel/dirt roads.

Comments
This is your time to make comments or ask any questions about the South Fork of Soldier Creek hike. Let's hear what you have to say about this Best Hike of 2011.

Thanks for visiting my website,


Tim Bondy Idaho Hike review for 2011

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 December 2011 15:40

Lone Juniper Creek Hike in the Owyhees

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Owyhee Mountains Lone Juniper Creek Hike View

(November 29th, 2011) This hike off Mud Flat Road south of Grand View, Idaho was very nice. Following Lone Juniper Creek for the 1st half of the hike was the easy part. The 2nd part of the hike was climbing the saddle between Lone Juniper Creek and Fall Creek to the 5,740 foot mark was a little more difficult. The usual Owyhee solitude was enhanced by doing this “winter” hike on a weekday. Thanks to a job interview in Grand View I was able to hit the trail rather quickly.

The Lone Juniper Hike
Parking just off Mud Flat Road at 42.749165, -116.309578, Addie my dog and I headed west along a dirt road. We encountered a few cows and for the first time Addie actually took some interest in them. Neither animal species seem to like each other much but the cows quickly gave way without much of a fuss.

From BondyWeb Idaho Photo


There are a few gate crossings going from BLM and into Idaho State lands. Both fences were open when we got to them. At about the half way mark to my destination (the saddle at 42.743984, -116.341866) the trail heads south and gains about 1,000 in elevation rather quickly. The higher we went the more scenic it became with views across the Snake River Plains into the snow cover mountain of the Boise National Forest.

See a Video of a aprt of this Hike


Animals Seen and Not Seen
We caught a glimpse of a coyote on the Fall Creek side of the saddle and a few mule deer on the neighboring hillside. The usual crows drove the dog crazy and there were plenty of smaller birds to keep her happy. I spotted what likely was a mountain lion foot prints in a muddy spot about 10 feet of the trail which kind of put me on edge. But Addie the plott hound did not seem too impressed.

From BondyWeb Idaho Photo


Why I Love This Area
The Owyhee's are such an underused piece of public land that on most days you're lucky to ever see another person out there. You can easily get away from it all, with little or no chance of getting turned around (i.e lost). I find the wide open and treeless mountains are ideal for their sweeping views and interesting geology. The Owyhee's give you at least a fighting chance for some quality rock hounding but the Mud Flat area hasn't been very productive for me...ever.

From BondyWeb Idaho Photo


What Annoys
Cattle...plain and simple. I haven't found one area in the Owyhees that haven't been grazed and pooped on by cattle. While “we the people” own this land, the BLM and State of Idaho appear to favor receiving about $1.35 per animal a month as they graze away on the sagebrush. It would be kind of nice if they would give “the people” a few “cow patty free acres” in the Owyhees. But please don't let this grazing activity scare you away from this area. As I said, the hiking is great down there.

From BondyWeb Idaho Photo


Hike Stats
Mileage: 4.29 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,104 feet
Average Slope: About 9%
Average Slope Heading Up Saddle: 17.2%
Creek Crossings: only 1

Map of my GPS Track

View Larger Map

Comments or Questions
Please leave a comment or a question for me about this Lone Juniper Creek hike. There is still a long Owyhee hiking season left before the rattlers reemerge from their winter time siesta. And don't forget to check back here for some more Bondyweb Outdoor Adventures.

Thanks,



tim-signature



Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 22:55

Pick a Spot Any Spot Call Mud Springs Hike

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This is Part 4 of my Series Called “Short Hikes Close to Mountain Home Idaho”

View of the Mud Springs Hike near Mountain Home Idaho

(November 28th, 2011) I picked a spot near Canyon Creek for a short hike. With my back bothering me somewhat, I wanted a hike with little elevation gain, close to home and with a minimum of gravel road travel. And I call this hike the “Mud Springs Hike” taken from the “Range Cattle Allotment” name of the land I would be hiking on. This was a complete off-trail/cross country hike.


View Larger Map

This easy 1.36 mile hike had an elevation gain/loss of just 140 feet with an average slope of 3.9% as I climbed a hill to the north. And it was barely a hill. The environment was relatively clean as BLM land goes with not many cow patties to deal with. As far as trash? A severe lack of trash found along my track tells me not many people walk this area.

Once on top of the hill I headed east along the ridge but did not want to head east too far as I knew private property was located in that direction. My GPS unit indicated I either encroached about 100 feet into private property or Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) lands. But there were no fences or signs in the area to say one way or the other.

Interesting Finds - Deer Shed and Wagon Trails

Deer antlers found during hike near Mountain Home

I cannot take credit for finding the deer shed as my dog Addie found them first. She certain does enjoy running around like a mad dog with antlers in her mouth. Not an experience I enjoy as she like to run full speed at me and turn away at the last second. This used to result in nice gouges in my legs but I have gotten wise to her shenanigans.

Oregon Trail ruts near Mountain Home Idaho

In the above picture I found these tracks in the prairie. I have much doubt about this, but could these tracks be part of the Oregon Trail? I know there are quite a number of places close to this site that are bona fide Oregon Trail tracks. These seem too fresh and easily seen to actually be a part of Idaho history....but one never knows.

I hope you enjoyed Part 4 of my series of “hikes you can enjoy in 2 hours or less if you live in Mountain Home, Idaho”. These hikes might not be in the most scenic or wild places but I seem to find interesting things almost every time I head out.

See Part 1:  2 Close to Mt Home Discovery Hikes
See Part 2:  Loveridge Snake River Hike
See Part 3:  Bennett Mountain Road Hike


Thanks,


tim-signature
Last Updated on Thursday, 01 December 2011 15:09

Bennett Mountain Road Hike was Plan B

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This is Part 3 of Short Hikes Close to Mountain Home Idaho

View from Hike on Bennett Mountain Road

The Importance of Plan B
(16 November 2011) Today's hike was on Bennett Mountain Road north of Glenns Ferry, Idaho. While not my first choice, it's a great place for a short hike but also severely stretches my Two Hours Door-to-Door criteria. Sometimes you gotta break the rules in order to explore.

Bennett Mountain Road climbs, amazing enough, into the Bennett Hills from the south. Drive far enough on this road and you'll end up on Highway 20. But staying closer to Mountain Home means you can stay entirely on paved roads to explore. And this is what we did. Parking just below where the road summits the Bennett Hills, we hiked up this mostly traffic less road and then detoured east off into the sagebrush towards the canyon on Little Canyon Creek.

From BondyWeb Idaho Photo

The views of the Snake River Plains from the hikers’ vantage point are wonderful. The Jarbidge Mountains of Nevada were visible as well as the Silver City Mountains and the Blair Trail Reservoir. Once we headed off road, the going got a little ankle-twisting but it was well worth getting of paved surfaces.

This area is volcanic and hiking the prairies off Bennett Mountain Road means navigating around an abundance of baseball to watermelon sized rocks and sagebrush. In order to stay at least close to my 2 hour total time limit, Addie my dog and I did not get to the Little Canyon Creek rim. But it was a nice hike none the less.

Map of Some Features Mentioned in this Article

View Larger Map

Plan A was a Nuclear Devastation Looking Mess
Originally, I had planned to hike what looked like a narrow dirt road east of what I called Emigrant Reservoir (Trail Diversion Dam). But as luck would have it, a fire ravaged the sagebrush steepe in this area early this year. I did not know this when planning the short hike.

From BondyWeb Idaho Photo

The fire zone in this area starts at the south and east end of Emigrant Reservoir and extends more than 2 miles to the north. While I could have stilled hiked out to my original destination, it would have been rather ugly and somewhat depressing.

Red and White Flags - What does it all mean?
Shortly after getting on Bennett Mountain Road, I found red and white flags marking the roadside. I've never seen this before and don't know the significance of these flags. Maybe you do.

From BondyWeb Idaho Photo

My best guess is some kind of visual aid for fence builders to string barbed wire?

Huge Pipes
Out on Bennett Road, near some windmills, I spotted some huge pipes. These pipes were also spotted elsewhere in this same general location. My guess is the pipes have to be 7-9 feet tall and about 15 feet in length.

From BondyWeb Idaho Photo

I have no idea what the function of these pipes is. I cannot imagine they carry water so maybe conduit for the windmills?

Links
- Part 1 of Short Hikes Close to Mountain Home Idaho.
- Part 2 of Short Hikes Close to Mountain Home Idaho.

Enjoy,


tim-signature


Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 20:55

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